Office Visits of the Future - 5 Implications for Today's Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Marketers

A recent study by Accenture* examines how increases in health care costs, a shortage of primary care physicians, and a rapidly aging population are driving changes in healthcare. New virtual health and digital technologies are moving patient care from traditional face-to-face office visits toward more health services provided through devices and more healthcare responsibility placed on consumers.

The Accenture analysis looks at ways virtual health can reduce the cost of three healthcare situations: annual patient visits, ongoing patient management of chronic conditions, and consumer self-care without a visit to a healthcare professional (HCP). According to Accenture’s findings, these approaches could generate an economic value of 10 billion annually to the US health system in just a few short years.

What will virtual healthcare mean for pharmaceutical and medical device companies, and what should we do now to prepare for the future?

Here are 5 implications:

1.     Continued focus on research and development for wearable monitoring and diagnostic devices. We’ve only scratched the surface of what wearable monitoring devices can do for healthcare. Apple recently received FDA approval for an atrial fibrillation-detecting algorithm and an electrocardiogram (ECG) to be built into the Apple Watch Series 4. What about opportunities to couple monitoring devices and pharmaceutical drugs to support patient compliance and adherence? Abilify MyCite® is the first FDA-approved therapy to combine an oral drug with a digital ingestion tracking system., which includes an ingestible sensor, wearable patch, and mobile compliance app. 

2.     Increased focus on data-driven decision making by healthcare professionals. HCPs will not only rely on artificial intelligence to gather information from patients before office visits but also to make treatment recommendations.  This will change how healthcare professionals make therapy decisions and how marketers gain insight into HCP treatment decisions.

3.     More options for healthcare consumers in accessing healthcare and the ability to personalize care to fit their lifestyle.  KNOW., a startup lab testing company, offers self-administered lab tests in the comfort of consumers’ own homes. The vision for the company is to offer patients a better way to understand their health status without having to go to a doctor’s office for routine lab tests. 

4.     Patient expectations that educational resources will be mobile, interactive and personalized. Patients of the future will use technology to manage their symptoms, receive product information and medication counseling, and decide when office visits are necessary. Understanding each step on the patient journey will be a critical step in improving health outcomes. 

5.     Changes in relationships between patients and HCPS, and between physicians and pharmaceutical manufacturers. HCPs will demand product information in digital format, accessible based on their schedule and tailored to their practice and patient needs. The relationship between manufacturers and HCPs may evolve to be primarily digital and customized to match the patient experience.

Transformation doesn’t have to be stressful. Luckie has 56 years of experience in adapting to change while remaining fiercely independent. We have extensive experience in building digital solutions that foster patient-provider dialogue, develop the clinical knowledge of HCPs, and educate patients on their conditions. Talk to us about how we can help your organization develop effective strategies to prepare for the future of office visits. 

*Tap into the virtual health opportunity: virtual health reduces clinician cost and capacity challenges. Accenture website. Accessed October 10, 2018.